We all know science is about discovery and exploration that replaces ignorance and superstition with knowledge. And day by day, tons of curious science experiments have taken a significant role to achieve the height in fields like biomedicine and psychology, making it an amazing path for developing more effective ways to gather worthy information, treat physical or mental abnormalities, and even save us from certain fatal circumstances at once. But it can also involve doing some pretty weird stuff. In the last 200 years, scientists in the name of pioneering study have conducted some of the most bizarre and cruel experiments in human history that will really haunt mankind forever.
Here the following is a list of the 25 most disturbing, creepy and unethical science experiments ever conducted in human history that will indeed give you nightmares in your sleep:
1| The Three Jesus Christs
In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach found three men suffering from the delusion of being Jesus. Each man had their own unique ideas of who they were. Rokeach had them brought together at Michigan’s Ypsilanti State Hospital and conducted an experiment where the three psychiatric patients were made to live together for two years, in an attempt to determine whether their beliefs would change. Almost immediately, they fell into an argument as who is the real Jesus. One patient would yell to another, “No, you will worship me!” escalating the contention. From the very beginning, Rokeach manipulated the patients’ lives by creating a big situation to illusion emotional responses. In the end, none of the patients was cured. Rokeach has implanted a number of questions regarding his treatment procedure the results of which were inconclusive and of little worth.
2| Stanford Prisoner Experiment
In 1971, an experiment at Stanford University in California proved that human beings, even the ones we least expect, naturally have a sadistic side that gets unleashed due to certain triggers. Psychologist Philip Zimbardo and his research group took 24 undergraduates and assigned them roles as either prisoners or guards, in a mock prison on campus. Despite instructions not to use any form of violence in maintaining control and order, after just a few days, one in every three guards exhibited sadistic tendencies, two prisoners had to be removed early due to emotional trauma, and the whole experiment only lasted six of the planned 14 days. It showed just how easily normal individuals can become abusive, in situations where it is easily accessible, even if they showed no signs prior to the experiment.
3| A Human Brain – Trapped In A Mouse!
Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla discovered how to grow human brain cells by injecting embryonic stem cells into fetal mice. This combines the twin horrors of stem cells and transgenic research to give us either supersmart squirmy mice babies, or people with rodent brains.
4| The Infamous Nazi Human Experiments
In human history, the medical atrocities performed by the Nazis are reportedly the most bizarre and disturbing events that are well-documented and undeniably horrifying. The experiments were conducted in concentration camps, and in most cases resulted in death, disfigurement, or permanent disability. They would attempt bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation; exposure the victims to diseases and chemical gasses; sterilization, and anything else the infamous Nazi doctors could think up. The cruellest experiments were conducted in the 1940s by a Nazi doctor named Josef Mengele, who was also known as the “Angel of Death”. He used as many as 1,500 sets of twins, mostly Romany and Jewish children, for his painful genetic experiments at Auschwitz. Only about 200 survived. His experiments included taking one twin’s eyeball and attaching it on the back of the other twin’s head, changing the eye colour of children by injecting dye, putting them into pressure chambers, testing them with drugs, castrating or freezing to death, and exposing to various other traumas. In one instance, two Romany twins were sewn together in an attempt to create conjoined twins.
Apart from this, in 1942, in order to help the German pilots, the German Air Force (Nazi) locked prisoners from Dachau concentration into an airtight, low-pressure chamber. The chamber was designed as such that the conditions inside it were at an altitude of up to 66,000 ft. This dangerous experiment led to the death of 80 out of the 200 subjects. Those who survived were executed in various horrible ways.
What’s also terrifying is how useful this information was to medical science. A large amount of our knowledge about how higher-altitude, hypothermia and cold effect humans are based on this data collected from Nazi’s such gruesome experiments. Many have raised questions about the morality of using data gathered under such horrific circumstances.
5| The Monster Study
In 1939, University of Iowa researchers Wendell Johnson and Mary Tudor conducted a stuttering experiment on 22 orphan children in Davenport, Iowa; saying that they were going to receive speech therapy. The doctors divided the children into two groups, the first of which received positive speech therapy where children were praised for speech fluency. In the second group, children received negative speech therapy and were belittled for every speech imperfection. Normal-speaking children in the second group developed speech problems which they then retained for the rest of their lives. Terrified by the news of human experiments conducted by the Nazis, Johnson and Tudor never published the results of their “Monster Study.”
6| Implantable Identity Code
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information. The first RFID implant in a human was in 1998, and since then it’s been an easy option for people wanting to be a little bit cyborg. Now companies, prisons, and hospitals have FDA approval to implant them into individuals, in order to track where people are going. A Mexican attorney general got 18 of his staff members chipped to control who had access to documents. The prospect of a business forcing its employees to receive an implant of any type is creepy and totalitarian.
7| New Born Babies Experiments (In The 1960s)
In the 1960s, researchers at the University of California used around 113 babies aged one to three months in various experiments to study changes in blood pressure and blood flow. In one of the experiments, 50 newborns were individually tied onto a circumcision board. They were then tilted to a certain angle to make blood rush to their head so that their blood pressure could be examined.
8| Radiation Tests On Pregnant Women
After World War II, radioactive materials were tested on pregnant women. Medical researchers in America fed radioactive edibles to 829 pregnant women while working on their idea of radioactivity and chemical warfare after World War II. The victims were told that they were given ‘energy drinks’ which would improve the health of their babies. Not only did the babies die from leukaemia, but the mothers also experienced severe rashes and bruises, along with some cancerous diseases.
9| Sigmund Freud And The Case Of Emma Eckstein
In the late nineteenth century, Eckstein came to Freud to be treated for a nervous illness. He diagnosed her with hysteria and excessive masturbation. His friend Willhelm Fleis believed that hysteria and excessive masturbation could be treated by cauterizing the nose, so he performed an operation on Eckstein where he essentially burned her nasal passages. She suffered horrific infections, and was left permanently disfigured as Fleiss had left surgical gauze in her nasal passage. Other women suffered through similar experiments.
10| Milgram Experiments
The infamous “shock” experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s in one of the best-known psychology experiments out there, and with good reason. It showed just how far people would go when ordered to hurt somebody else by an authority figure. The well-known psychological study brought in volunteers who thought they were participating in an experiment where they would deliver shocks to another test subject. A doctor requested that they deliver greater and greater shocks, starting from 15 volts to ending at a massive 450 volts, even when the “test subject” started to scream in pain and (in some cases) die. In reality, the experiment was to see how obedient people would be when a doctor told them to do something that was obviously horrific and possibly fatal. Many participants in the experiments were willing to shock the “test subjects” (actors hired by Milgram who gave fake reactions) until they believed those subjects were injured or dead. Later, many participants claimed they were traumatized for life after discovering that they were capable of such inhumane behaviour.
11| Robert Heath’s Electric Sex Stimulation
Robert G. Heath was an American psychiatrist who followed the theory of ‘biological psychiatry’ that organic defects were the sole source of mental illness, and that consequently mental problems were treatable by physical means. To prove that, in 1953, Dr. Heath inserted the electrodes into a subject’s brain and shocked the septal region ― associated with feelings of pleasure ― and many other parts of his brain. Using this deep brain stimulation procedure, he had experimented on the subject with gay conversion therapy and claimed to have successfully converted a homosexual person, labelled in his paper as Patient B-19. The septal electrodes were then stimulated while he was shown heterosexual pornographic material. The patient was later encouraged to have intercourse with a prostitute recruited for the study. As a result, Heath claimed the patient was successfully converted to heterosexuality. However, this research would be deemed unethical today for a variety of humane reasons.
12| Scientist Lets Insect Live Inside Her!
The sand flea, also known as chigger flea, is pretty gross. It burrows permanently into the skin of a warm-blooded host — like a human — where it swells, defecates, and produces eggs, before dying 4-6 weeks later, still embedded in the skin. We know a lot about them, but until now, their sex lives have been shrouded in mystery. Not anymore: A researcher in Madagascar was so interested in sand flea development that she let one of the bugs live inside her foot for 2 months. Her intimate observations paid off: She figured out that the parasites most likely have sex when the females are already inside their hosts.
José Delgado, a professor at Yale, invented the Stimocever, a radio implanted in the brain to control behaviour. Most dramatically, he demonstrated its effectiveness by stopping a charging bull with the implant. Except this thing could control peoples actions. In one case, the implant caused erotic stimulation for a woman, who stopped looking after herself and lost some motor functions after using the stimulator. She even developed an ulcer on her finger from constantly adjusting the amplitude dial.
14| THN1412 Drug Trial
In 2007, drug trials started for THN1412, a leukaemia treatment. It had been tested previously in animals and was found completely safe. Generally, a drug is deemed safe to test on humans when it is found to be nonfatal to animals. When testing began in human subjects, the humans were given doses 500 times lower than found safe for animals. Nevertheless, this drug, safe for animals, caused catastrophic organ failure in test subjects. Here the difference between animals and humans was deadly.
15| Dr. William Beaumont And The Stomach
In 1822, a fur trader on Mackinac Island in Michigan was accidentally shot in the stomach and treated by Dr. William Beaumont. Despite dire predictions, the fur trader survived — but with a hole (fistula) in his stomach that never healed. Recognizing the unique opportunity to observe the digestive process, Beaumont began conducting experiments. Beaumont would tie food to a string, then insert it through the hole in the trader’s stomach. Every few hours, Beaumont would remove the food to observe how it had been digested. Though gruesome, Beaumont’s experiments led to the worldwide acceptance that digestion was a chemical, not a mechanical, process.
16| CIA Projects MK-ULTRA & QKHILLTOP
MK-ULTRA was a code name for a series of CIA mind-control research experiments, heavily steeped in chemical interrogations and LSD dosing. In operation Midnight Climax, they hired prostitutes to dose clients with LSD to see its effects on unwilling participants. The very concept of a Governmental agency trying to control minds, both to boost the mental abilities of its friends, and destroy those of its enemies, is suitably horrific.
In 1954, the CIA developed an experiment called Project QKHILLTOP to study Chinese brainwashing techniques, which they then used to develop new methods of interrogation. Leading the research was Dr. Harold Wolff of Cornell University Medical School. After requesting that the CIA provide him with information on imprisonment, deprivation, humiliation, torture, brainwashing, hypnoses, and more, Wolff’s research team began to formulate a plan through which they would develop secret drugs and various brain damaging procedures. According to a letter he wrote, in order to fully test the effects of the harmful research, Wolff expected the CIA to “make available suitable subjects.
17| Extracting Body Parts To Cure Insanity
Dr. Henry Cotton was the head physician of the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum which is presently called the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. He was convinced that the internal organs, upon developing infections, were the root causes of insanity and must, therefore, be extracted for study. In 1907, the “surgical bacteriology” procedures were done often without the consent of patients. Teeth, tonsils and even deeper internal organs such as colons that were suspected to be causing the insanity were extracted. To prove his point, the doctor also extracted his own teeth, as well as those of his wife and sons! Forty-nine patients died from the procedures, which he justified as “end-stage psychosis.” He is currently regarded as a pioneering expert who paved the way for efforts to cure insanity — but critics still consider his works appalling, nonetheless!
18| Hepatitis In Mentally Disabled Children
In the 1950s, Willowbrook State School, a New York state-run institution for mentally handicapped children, began experiencing outbreaks of hepatitis. Due to unsanitary conditions, it was virtually inevitable that these children would contract hepatitis. Dr. Saul Krugman, sent to investigate the outbreak, proposed an experiment that would assist in developing a vaccine. However, the experiment required deliberately infecting children with the disease. Though Krugman’s study was controversial from the start, critics were eventually silenced by the permission letters obtained from each child’s parents. In reality, offering one’s child to the experiment was oftentimes the only way to guarantee admittance into the overcrowded institution.
19| Human Experimentation In The Soviet Union
Beginning in 1921 and continuing for most of the 21st century, the Soviet Union employed poison laboratories known as Laboratory 1, Laboratory 12, and Kamera as covert research facilities of the secret police agencies. Prisoners from the Gulags were exposed to a number of deadly poisons, the purpose of which was to find a tasteless, odourless chemical that could not be detected post mortem. Tested poisons included mustard gas, ricin, digitoxin, and curare, among others. Men and women of varying ages and physical conditions were brought to the laboratories and given the poisons as “medication,” or part of a meal or drink.
20| Keeping The Dog’s Head Alive
In the late 1920s, a Soviet physician named Sergei Brukhonenko decided to test the theory of his, through a very creepy experiment. He decapitated a dog and using a self-made machine called ‘autojektor,‘ he managed to keep the head alive for multiple hours. He shone the light in its eyes, and the eyes blinked. When he banged a hammer on the table, the dog flinched. He even fed the head a piece of cheese, which promptly popped out the oesophagal tube on the other end. The head was indeed alive. Brukhonenko developed a new version of the autojektor (for use on humans) in the same year; it can be seen today on display at the Museum of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Bakulev Scientific Center of Cardiovascular Surgery in Russia.
21| The Lazarus Project
During the 1930s, Dr. Robert E. Cornish, a young California scientist who astounded the nation by bringing the dead dog, Lazarus, back to life after three failed attempts. He claimed that he had found a way to store the life to the dead; in cases of none of the major organs were damaged. In this process, he would inject some chemical mixture through the veins of dead bodies. He was now preparing to repeat his experiment using human subjects. So he had petitioned the governors of the three states, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada to furnish him with the bodies of criminals after they are pronounced dead in the lethal gas chambers — but his requests were rejected on various grounds. However, hearing of his predicament, approximately 50 people, interested both in science and possible remuneration, had offered themselves as subjects.
22| Human Experiments In Noth Korea
Several North Korean defectors have described witnessing disturbing cases of human experimentation. In one alleged experiment, 50 healthy women prisoners were given poisoned cabbage leaves — all 50 women were dead within 20 minutes. Other described experiments include the practice of surgery on prisoners without anaesthesia, purposeful starvation, beating prisoners over the head before using the zombie-like victims for target practice, and chambers in which whole families are murdered with suffocation gas. It is said that each month, a black van known as “the crow” collects 40-50 people from a camp and takes them to a known location for experiments.
23| The Aversion Project
The experiment aversion project was conducted during the apartheid in South Africa. Led by Dr. Aubrey Levin, the programme identified the homosexual soldiers from the army and subjected them to horrific medical tortures. Between 1971 and 1989, many soldiers had been submitted in the chemical castration and electric shock treatment. When they couldn’t change the sexual orientation of some victims, they forced the soldiers in the sex-changing operations. Reportedly as many as 900 gay men, mostly between 16 to 24 years old, were surgically turned in the women.
24| Unit 731
In 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army undertook the most barbaric kind of experiment in the history of mankind, though slightly less well-known than the Nazi experiments — why, you will get it after a while. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Imperial Japan. The experiment was conducted at the Pingfang city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China). They built a huge complex with 105 buildings and brought in test subjects including infants, the elderly and pregnant women. Most of the victims they experimented on were Chinese while a lesser percentage were Soviet, Mongolian, Korean, and other Allied POWs. Thousands of them were subjected to vivisection, performing invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body, often without anaesthesia and usually ending with the death of the victims. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was thought that the death of the subject would affect the results. Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines. Parts of organs, such as the brain, lungs, and liver, were removed from some prisoners. Some accounts suggest that the practice of vivisection on human subjects was widespread even outside Unit 731.
Apart from this, prisoners were injected with diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhoea, to study the effects of untreated venereal diseases. Female prisoners were also repeatedly subject to rape by guards and were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments. Plague-infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. They were used as the human targets to test grenades positioned at various distances. Flamethrowers were tested on them and they were also tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs. In other tests, prisoners were deprived of food and water, placed into high-pressure chambers until death; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with seawater; and burned or buried alive. At least 3,000 men, women, and children were brought in there, and there have been no accounts of any survivors of Unit 731.
The unit received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945. Instead of being tried for war crimes after the war, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the United States in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation.
25| Tuskegee And Guatemala Syphilis Experiments
Between the years 1932 and 1972, 399 impoverished African-American farmers in Tuskegee, Alabama, with syphilis were recruited into a free programme under the U.S. Public Health Service to treat their disease. But the scientists secretly conducted an experiment on the patients, denying the effective treatment (penicillin) even after it existed; only to see how the disease would progress if untreated. In 1973, the subjects filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government for their questionable experiment that leads to major changes in American laws on informed consent in medical experiments.
From 1946 to 1948, the United States government, Guatemalan president Juan José Arévalo, and some Guatemalan health ministries cooperated in a disturbing human experiment on unwitting Guatemalan citizens. Doctors deliberately infected soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners, and mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases in an attempt to track their untreated natural progression. Treated only with antibiotics, the experiment resulted in at least 30 documented deaths. In 2010, the United States made a formal apology to Guatemala for their involvement in these experiments.
These were some of the most disturbing and unethical science experiments ever conducted in human history that we have found from various trusted sources. However, there have been more such creepy scientific things happened during that miserable period in world history but they’re not precisely documented anywhere. We generally look at scientists with awe, but in the name of progress, these evil science experiments and their unethical methods force us to recognize the profession’s truly horrific essence, in which many lives have been sacrificed against their will. And the saddest thing is that somehow it’s still happening somewhere. Hope one day we humans will believe in the humane science to benefit both people and animals, for cruelty-free living.